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Bat Disease Threatens to Close America's Caves

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posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 03:21 PM
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Bat Disease Threatens to Close America's Caves


www.wired.com

To prevent Geomyces spores from being carried between caves on visitors’ shoes and clothing, the United States Forest Service has closed all its caves — with bats, and without — in the eastern and southern U.S., along with the Rocky Mountains and much of the Great Plains. Its other regions may follow suit. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has also declared caves in national wildlife refuges to be off-limits.
(visit the link for the full news article)


Related News Links:
www.caves.org
www.nwhc.usgs.gov
www.fws.gov




posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 03:21 PM
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Something about this doesn't make sense and I smell a conspiracy brewing. I understand White Nose Syndrome is real and could be devastating to the entire ecosystem. But, what caught my attention is the reasons for closing down caves and mines; the federal government doesn't want the fungus spores to spread by humans accidentally carrying it from one cave to the next.

What? Honestly, I don't know much about bat populations but I can speculate that if the caves are close together than the bats travel between them anyway, so what difference does it make whether humans are there. And, it's not like you will visit a cave in New York then drive to Kentucky to visit another cave in a totally unaffected area thereby spreading the disease... I would think if folks did that the spores would have died long ago during the trip. (Fungi have no chlorophyll and require nutrients from dead organic matter or grow on other organisms to get nutrients for growth, they also live in moist places; so your shoes and jackets are not optimal living conditions).

So, I think the caves and mines are getting shut down for other reasons, but what those reasons are I'm not sure.

Note: The government has no idea what's actually killing the bats, only that the fungus is present but possibly an effect of something else. Also, Geomyces does not grow in temperatures over 24C (75.2F), but typically exists only in colder regions, so why close all the mines? (Likewise, 60% of this fungal growth begins at -2C [28.4F]).

So what do you guys think? Is this a good idea to shut down all the caves and mines in the US to protect the bats? Is it an overreaction by authorities? Or, as my conspiratorial minds goes, are the feds planning something and need people out of safe underground areas?

And here's a scary thought, if we lose bats we use more pesticides and sicken our planet even more. Combine that with losing the bees and we're screwed.

**Infected bats**


www.wired.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 03:32 PM
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I remember listening to NPR talking about the spread of this fungus being a concern years ago. They even went so far as to say during the broadcast (which I will try to find somewhere) that closing down the habitats that bats visit wouldn't help, more or less for the reasons you mention.

The conspiratorial in me wants to grasp at the notion that TPTB don't want is spelunking anymore.... why? Who knows?

I suspect that we should be given a bit more information other than bat fungus.... unless it's a threat to humans.... but no one has said as much.



posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 03:40 PM
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reply to post by Maxmars
 


I don't think that the fungus is a threat to humans.
I think the fungus is being used as an excuse to
close down the caves to the population.
Why would TPTB want to keep people out of the caves?
What could be in the caves that "they" want hidden
from us?



posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 03:41 PM
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reply to post by Jason88
 


A very interesting little thread.
I wonder what they are trying to
hide?



posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 03:47 PM
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I live where there happens to be a lot of caves under the protection of the U.S. Forestry Department and the U.S. National Parks and Recreation. Although we have never had a closure because of Geomyces Spores, every two or three years they are closed because of Bubonic Plague outbreak. When enough rats, bats, and deer in the area are diagnosed with Bubonic Plague they just close the area, firebomb it, and a couple of months later reopen. One cave, which happens to be a National Monument, is routinely closed temporarily when the lint level (yes, lint!) becomes too high. Generally lint only keeps the cave closed for a weekend though.

The thing that seems odd about this story is that Geomyces Spores are common in most houses, and very common on childhood playgrounds and sandboxes. So, this couldn't possibly be a measure to protect humans.

Now if this were Cryptococcus gattii instead of Geomyces, I would understand the grave concern and the closures.
edit on 18-10-2010 by fraterormus because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 03:54 PM
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People do travel between caves in remote areas. I used to travel from New England to the caves of Virginia and West Virginia.

Many of the bat caves in my area are closed. Many of those caves have been closed by the NSS members in the area. The closures are sometimes voluntary closures and other times are forced closures since the entrances are gated. Still, there are many caves open since they are not typical bat roosting caves.



posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 04:04 PM
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I think this is only because so many people are checking out caves for the 2012 thing and the military industrial complex and all the ptb do not want the average Joe to survive in a cave any of the depopulation scenarios.



posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 04:06 PM
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reply to post by fraterormus
 


You sound very learned. Good to know about the diseases you can pick up in a cave, yuck! Think about that in the survival mode...



posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 04:28 PM
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I can't wait until 2012 is over with, personally.

Bat wise, we had a big decline in the local bat population over the last three years, but this year they seem to be back with a vengeance. Hopefully they're becoming resistant to it. I like the little buggers - we've got bat houses. I don't know where they roost around here - there's no caves to amount to anything.



posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 04:30 PM
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Originally posted by fraterormus
The thing that seems odd about this story is that Geomyces Spores are common in most houses, and very common on childhood playgrounds and sandboxes. So, this couldn't possibly be a measure to protect humans


As the authorities claim it's a measure to protect bat populations from humans, but we're not transmitters of this fungus, so why ban people from going underground?


University of Hawaii, Botany Department
We often come in contact with fungi during our everyday routines, some which are potentially pathogenic to human and others not. We may be exposed simply by walking by construction areas where the soil has been disturbed and scattered into the wind by the machinery, we are constantly exposed while we are hiking, jogging, hunting or fishing. During recreation when we injure ourselves, such as with puncture wound, abrasions, burns or even by inhalation of a large number of harmful spores. Fortunately, most of us have an immune system that will protect us from such infections by fungi, but some individuals will contract fungal diseases from such injuries.


Source: www.botany.hawaii.edu...

I like the 2012 idea because if humans were to carry the spores between caves, possible searching out optimal places to ride out whatever may or may not happen, then the argument becomes a volume play. Meaning the more people in caves and mines, the higher likelihood of actually spreading this disease to bats... but even that sounds like a stretch.

I didn't know caves were routinely closed, but on a national scale? I mean, put this in its simplest terms and it says: The feds do not want people going underground.
edit on 18-10-2010 by Jason88 because: Sourced UofH link



posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 05:14 PM
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Star and Flag because it's an interesting topic, and your opening post was very well presented.

Why would they worry about us moving the fungus from one place to the other?
The only thing I can think of is that they aren't worried about it, it's just a front.

What really is a more probable theory is that Monsanto is behind this!


A little brown bat will eat at least half its body weight in insects every night from April to October, Kunz said. When a female bat is nursing her pup — bats give birth to one pup per year — she will eat her entire body weight every night. Multiplied by a few million bats, that’s several metric tons of insects removed from the air throughout North America.

www.popsci.com...

Who would benefit the most from this?
I would think makers of GMO crops/seeds.


if the bats died out, farmers would have to spend $750,000 to $1.2 million on pesticides every summer to protect their cotton crops.

“Without bats, people are going to end up using more pesticides, there will be more water and soil contamination, more human contamination,” Kunz said.

Monsanto makes GMO Seeds and pesticides.

Now do a google search with this "Monsanto Fungus"

Seems like they are becoming experts at it



posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 06:02 PM
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Originally posted by antar
You sound very learned. Good to know about the diseases you can pick up in a cave, yuck! Think about that in the survival mode...


Humans started out in Caves Seems we made it through and proliferated


Maybe those living below ground have sen an ultimatum for us to "Keep Out or Else" just like we were told to stay off the Moon!

Maybe...





posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 06:08 PM
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Originally posted by ModernAcademia
Star and Flag because it's an interesting topic, and your opening post was very well presented.


Thanks.
There's just something was very wrong with the official stance here, why are such nebulous reasons provided for closing all US mines and caves. Come on, really? Human traffic spreading a fungus that may or may not be the cause for destroying bat populations. I would think such a drastic move would warrant "facts," not a guess that White Nose Syndrome is guilty - it could be symptom of something else.



Monsanto makes GMO Seeds and pesticides.

Now do a google search with this "Monsanto Fungus"

Seems like they are becoming experts at it


Not good, you're right, "Monsanto Fungus": lmgtfy.com...

Amongst all the terrible information about this company, I found this gem to support why they would benefit greatly from sick bats:


The Atlantic
Some investment analysts have anointed Monsanto, the 800-pound gorilla of the food biotechnology industry, the worst stock of the year. Whether or not the company is really doing that badly, it is not having a good year.

Source dated today, 10/18/10: www.theatlantic.com...

Monsanto is having the worst financial year of its existence, so they create(d) a fungus to kill off bats now farmers have to buy more of their pesticides and genetically modified crop seeds. In this world, cancer, obesity, diabetes and immune disorders become prevalent so this company can make a profit because you know what, sick or not, you have to eat.

While highly speculative, that would, in fact, increase their revenue. Follow the money I guess... ugh.

But are their two issues now?

1. White Nose Syndrome is real, it may or may not cause death in bats and Monsanto benefits from increased insect populations in this scenario.
2. The feds, unable to determine why exactly bats are dying, decide the most prudent course is to close the underground world for fear humans will contribute to the destruction. The issue is overreacting for possibly another more sinister reason.

Both the feds and Monsanto are in cahoots, one gets to shut down the underground world for unknown reasons, the other gets to sell more of its product.

Whether that's the case or not, the more I read about this the more I am convinced this is cover story.
edit on 18-10-2010 by Jason88 because: engrish



posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 07:45 PM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Oct, 18 2010 @ 11:50 PM
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reply to post by zorgon
 


LOLingLOL, I know... just figured I would keep that one under my hat! Seems there are places that need disclosure. Too bad people are just too bored with earth to really figure things out.



posted on Oct, 19 2010 @ 07:40 AM
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The thread is overlooking the fact that most caves in the eastern US are controlled by private individuals. More are controlled by caving groups. Few are federally controlled. Closures in the mid-Atlantic states are being done by caving groups and individuals. This is a preventive measure to see what happens when the caves are closed to human traffic. I have spoken to friends of mine that are active cavers and they all think that human activity may be the reason for the spread of the disease. These people are concerned about wildlife and think that voluntary closures are important.

To associate the closure of the relatively few federally controlled caves because of the hoax called 2012 is hard to believe. To think that Monsanto would be positively affected by a decline in bat populations is really far fetched.

The question really boils down to the efficacy of closures. This is just a quarantine technique. Will it work? Time will tell.

In the mean time my friends are working on new cave discoveries that are over 20 miles in length. They have several projects in that range being actively mapped and explored.



posted on Oct, 19 2010 @ 01:40 PM
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Originally posted by stereologist
The thread is overlooking the fact that most caves in the eastern US are controlled by private individuals. More are controlled by caving groups. Few are federally controlled. Closures in the mid-Atlantic states are being done by caving groups and individuals. This is a preventive measure to see what happens when the caves are closed to human traffic. I have spoken to friends of mine that are active cavers and they all think that human activity may be the reason for the spread of the disease. These people are concerned about wildlife and think that voluntary closures are important.


That does make much more sense to me. Geomyces is so commonplace that it isn't a danger to humans. Geomyces being a fungal spore is not contagious, even amongst animals, but requires direct contact with the spores. However, it very well could be that humans track Geomyces spores into caves, and this could be the logic for the closures to prevent introduction of Geomyces into the bat hibernacula. The only part about this that doesn't make sense is that I thought the primary point of contagion of Geomyces in bat populations was the cave cricket which carries the spores into the bat hibernacula and which the bats then eat and ingest the spores which the crickets happen to have on their legs. Unless they plan on spraying to kill off the cave cricket population also (although that would still adversely affect the bats as this is a common source of their food), it doesn't entirely make sense, other than to rule out a possibility but not a probability.

However, as I'm neither a Chiropterologist or a Mycologist, I'm willing to take the experts word for the best course of action.


Originally posted by antar
Good to know about the diseases you can pick up in a cave, yuck! Think about that in the survival mode...


I know the caves where the Bubonic Plague routinely breaks out every two or three years used to house Native Americans for decades while they made a last stand against the US Cavalry in the late 19th century. They were apparently safe enough for the Native Americans, but it makes me wonder how Bubonic Plague was introduced to the area. I'm sure they were probably carried by fleas that stowed away on the saddle-blankets of the US Cavalry.

However, it's not just the fleas or direct bites from ground squirrels, prairie dogs, chipmunks, wood rats, wild mice, deer, bats, and voles that are a concern so much as contracting Pneumonic Plague by inhaling infectious droplets from the feces of such animals infected with Plague. As the common habitat of these plague carriers is in semi-arid cave environments it is common to come in contact with the feces of these plague carriers. I've never heard tale of anyone contracting Bubonic Plague directly from animals by bite or by fleas from Spelunking, but considering the amount of rodent feces one treks through on their hands and knees, potentially contracting Pneumonic Plague from Spelunking doesn't seem that far of a stretch.

The various molds, mildews and fungi that reside in caves should be deterrent enough, however, in dry, arid caves found in desert areas it's not really an issue. It's the damp caves you have to worry about...as the environment is very similar to your lungs, the molds, fungi, and mildews that grow in those damp caves have no problem growing in your lungs if you breath them in (thankfully almost all of them, with the exception of Cryptococcus gattii, respond well to antifungals and antibiotics if you get to them early).

Still, if you aren't hyper-allergenic or have an Immuno-Deficiency Disorder, then a little mold, mildew, fungi, and plague aren't much to worry about. Caves are generally well sheltered, constantly cool despite outside temperatures, and are great natural water filters. Just bring a pair of gloves, and a painter's mask along with your usual helmet, knee and elbow pads, and get in the habit of washing yourself and your clothing thoroughly and you'll find there is nothing to fear underground.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 07:34 AM
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Update: Scientists Identify Fungus That Has Killed 1M Bats


Five years after a bat-killing plague was discovered in the eastern United States, and three years after a fungus was linked to that plague, scientists have finally identified the pathogen and confirmed it is indeed responsible for the deaths, reports Reuters. The deadly white fungus Geomyces destructans is responsible for white-nose syndrome, which has killed about 1 million bats since 2006, wiping out more than 90% of some species of cave-dwelling bats.

Geomyces destructans hits bats while they hibernate, causing them to use their limited body fat reserves and exhibit strange behavior, such as flying deep into caves where they cannot find insects to eat or outside during the day. As the fungus spreads westward, wildlife experts worry about the potential effects the loss of insect-eating bat populations might have, with one study estimating the flying mammal is worth $3.7 billion a year.


Source: www.reuters.com...

I don't see anything about a cure, only that scientists can start to look for one now that they know what the disease it. This is bad news for our fragile eco-system if bats do get wiped out.



posted on Oct, 27 2011 @ 07:42 AM
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On the one hand, fungal spores can be microscopic and live for centuries before finding a suitable host environment and growing again. So, I can see how the precaution might do some good.

On the other hand, caves are the fall-back location many of us have for our SHTF scenarios. If they close and secure them all, then we are left out in the cold figuratively and literally!

I know of many, many old Jessie James caves and Hideouts in the area where I grew up. There are plenty of places to duck in a cave and hide for hours, days, or weeks if necessary and they are outside the government's control, but with this new rule, a game warden or forest ranger could come along and arrest you for doing recon in a cave and leaving some supplies behind. It seems the rule will do more in the parks and forests to limit people's access.

I don't like this rule at all. I don't believe it prevents anything, because the bats, and wild animals will still be coming and going and spreading the spores.




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